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Crowninshield, Benjamin W - History

Crowninshield, Benjamin W - History


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Crowninshield, Benjamin W. (1772-1851) Secretary of the Navy: Benjamin Crowninshield was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 27, 1772; received an English education and became a businessman in Salem, Massachusetts. After serving in the state Senate for three years, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Madison. Crowninshield maintained this post in Monroe's administration, and resigned in 1818. A presidential elector in 1820 and a state Senator from 1822 to 1823, he was elected to the US Congress as Democratic-Republican. He served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1823 to 1831. Crowninshield died in Boston, on April 14, 1808.


Note: The annotations to this document, and any other modern editorial content, are copyright © The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) is part of the National Archives. Through its grants program, the NHPRC supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources, relating to the history of the United States, and research and development projects to bring historical records to the public.


He was born in Boston March 12, 1837. His father was Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1809–1877) and mother was Sarah Putnam (1810–1880). [2] He attended Harvard College, graduating in 1858, along with classmates Henry Hobson Richardson and Henry Adams. [3] [4] Adams' Education of Henry Adams (1918) includes descriptions of his friendship with Crowninshield. [4]

At Harvard, Crowninshield kept a daily diary through his junior and senior years, which was published in 1941 by his son Francis, under the title A Private Journal, 1856–1858. It records that he was captain of the rowing team handled most of his classes with ease, with the exception of Logic which he called "that cursed nonsense" was president, Learoyd Director, and Abercrombie Treasurer of the Glee Club was a member of the Porcellian Club and Pierian Sodality was treasurer of the Hasty Pudding sang in the choir and played the 'cello. He resided, in 1856, at Number 9 Hollis Hall. His diary records many activities, from visiting old friends through attending drawing courses and music lessons going to dances, theatres, and concerts playing billiards at Ripley's and spending the evening in Parker's Restaurant to spending a whole day making a model boat. [5]

Other people that he befriended at Harvard, according to his diary, include Robert Gould Shaw, whom Crowninshield first met when Shaw was a freshman who was hoping to become a member of the Pierian Sodality. Crowninshield was also friends at Harvard with William Henry Fitzhugh Lee. His diary entry for 1856-11-19, for example, records him playing whist "till the sociable (Lee's) was ready at L. Erving's room". (The "sociable" was a party.) Its entry for 1857-06-24 records him going "into town to a supper at Parker's given in honor of Lee, Jones, Lowndes all of whom are going to leave the class". [5]

With the onset of the Civil War, Crowninshield enlisted as a lieutenant with the First Massachusetts Cavalry on 1861-11-05. He rose through the ranks, being promoted to first lieutenant on 1861-12-19, captain on 1862-03-26, and major on 1864-08-10. He was aide de camp to General Philip Sheridan, remaining with the General until mustered out on 1864-11-06. On 1865-06-17 he reached the highest rank that he was to attain, brevet colonel of the U.S. Volunteers. [5]

One coincidence that befell him during the War was that when W.H.F. Lee (by then major general in the Confederate army) was captured, as a prisoner he automatically fell under the direct control of the provost marshal. At the time, that was Crowninshield. Crowninshield 's son, Francis B. Crowninshield, was later to record that it was "a truly embarrassing position for both of them", with Lee rejecting "any of the privileges [that] Crowninshield tried to bestow upon him". [5]

Crowninshield pursued the study of history, publishing and speaking on various topics, such as yachting [6] and military history. [ citation needed ] He wrote his History of the First Massachusetts Cavalry (see further reading) in 1891. [5] His personal account of Sheridan at Winchester (also listed in further reading) was published in Atlantic Monthly.

In 1868, Crowninshield commissioned his friend H.H. Richardson to design and build a house on Marlborough Street in the newly land-filled Back Bay area of Boston. The Crowninshield House, completed in 1870, still exists. [7]

After the War, Crowninshield married and moved to New York, [5] where he was a member of New York drygoods merchants Sprague, Colburn, and Company. [3] In 1868 he moved to Boston to join a different drygood merchants, Wheelwright, Anderson, and Company. [3] [5] He was later president of the Realty Company. [3]

His health began to fail in 1891, and he died January 16, 1892, at age 55, in Rome, having travelled to Europe for a rest. [5] His oldest son was boat designer Bowdoin B. Crowninshield (1867–1948). [2]


Francis Boardman Crowninshield Family Papers, 1778-1948, undated

The Francis Boardman Crowninshield Family Papers are a collection of business records and family papers created by Francis Boardman Crowninshield, his immediate family and other relatives.

Series I. Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1809-1877) Papers are comprised of four subseries. Subseries A. Business Papers and Correspondence focuses on three separate business operations in the life of Francis Boardman Crowninshield. This subseries include bills, receipts, and correspondence relating to the Bay State Mills, of which Crowninshield was a shareholder. He also belonged to the law firm of Choate and Crowninshield, represented in this collection by bills and "executions" ranging from the mid 1830s to 1850. Lastly, Francis Boardman Crowninshield purchased arms during the Civil War for regiments in Massachusetts and Ohio. This business was conducted mostly from London, England, and the series includes correspondence as well as bills and receipts.

Subseries B. Legal Records includes a number of estates for which Crowninshield was named executor, as well as papers for the cases of Derby v. Sanford and Curtis v. Francis .

Subseries C. Personal and Family Correspondence is comprised of letters written to and from Francis Boardman Crowninshield. Personal correspondence addresses many different subjects, from fire insurance to invitations to business and political social opportunities. The family correspondence consists of letters to Crowninshield from his father Ben, his mother Mary, as well as his siblings. In the letterbooks, Crowninshield addresses his letters to individuals such as his son Ben, Nathaniel Silsbee, other members of the Crowninshield and Bradlee families, and he responds to requests from autograph seekers.

Subseries D. Personal Papers includes documentation of Francis Boardman Crowninshield's estate, a cookbook compiled by his wife dating from 1834, as well as diaries covering 1861-1865.

Series II. Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1837-1892) Papers contain five subseries. Subseries A. Bills and Receipts includes many bills and receipts addressed to the "Estate of F.B. Crowninshield" and are dated 1877, the year of Francis Boardman Crowninshield's death. Many of these bills are for funeral expenses.

Subseries B. Personal Correspondence includes invitations from various clubs in the Boston area, including the Porcellian Club, and the Harvard Alumni organization. Other topics discussed in the letters include bills paid, club matters and events, insurance, the sale of the yacht Tomahawk , real estate matters, and social engagements. Notable names represented in this series include: Caleb W. Loring George Peabody Amory Lawrence Eben Jordan of the department store Jordan Marsh George W. Weld and Frederick Law Olmsted. Undated letters have been filed alphabetically by last name at the end of this series.

Subseries C. Family Correspondence contains letters written to Benjamin Williams Crowninshield by his mother and father, his wife Katherine, his sisters Louisa, Emily, and Alice, his sons Francis and Bowdoin, his daughter Emily, his cousins Arent and John, and other family members including Mary Gaillard and Theodore Chase. The majority of letters written by Benjamin Williams Crowninshield from 1860 to 1864 describes Crowninshield's experiences during the Civil War.

Subseries D. Personal Papers and Ephemera contains a great number of diaries spanning over 30 years. Other items of interest include: a sketchbook containing Germanic military uniform sketches as well as pencil rubbings of pfennigs a copy of the Atlantic Monthly from 1878 including an article by Crowninshield a passport book and a notebook from 1864 entitled "Inquisition Book of Rebel Prisoners, Valley of the Shenandoah Virginia."

Subseries E. Genealogical Research contains the large volume of research compiled by Benjamin Williams Crowninshield on his family heritage. Boxes 17 and 18 were processed as volumes because the material was found as two distinct items however, since they were not bound, they were separated into folders for preservation purposes. Most of Box 19 was organized by generation. The research consists of forms Crowninshield sent out to relatives, who then filled out the form and returned it to Crowninshield. Crowninshield was aided by Ellery Harrison, a professional genealogist who also compiled the Pickering genealogy. Correspondence addressed to Harrison can be found in the records themselves, as well as in a separate folder at the end of the series.

Series III. Katherine May Crowninshield (1844-1892) Papers consist of three subseries. Subseries A. Financial Records contain several account books and cancelled checks.

Subseries B. Correspondence includes letters written to Crowninshield by her husband and her children. There are a few letters from Benjamin Williams Crowninshield before they were married, and one in particular speaks to Benjamin Williams's desire to be married. Most of the letters from the children are from Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1869-1958) and Bowdoin Bradlee Crowninshield (b. 1867). The letters from Francis Boardman are written while he was at boarding school. The letters to Benjamin Williams from Katherine Crowninshield contain mostly daily household events.

Subseries C. Personal Papers contains one folder, consisting of Katherine May Crowninshield's last will and testament, as well as dance cards from 1865.

Series IV. Bradlee Family Correspondence contains letters between Alice Crowninshield Bradlee and her son, Francis, and her daughter, Sarah. The letters from Alice Bradlee to Francis Bradlee detail her travels in Italy, Germany, France, as well as a stay in Dublin, New Hampshire. Sarah Bradlee accompanied her mother on these trips, and her letters to her brother are on similar subjects. Letters from Sarah and Francis to their mother were written during their stays in Jamaica, Cuba, England, France, and on board the ship the Orca .

Series V. Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1869-1958) and Louise Dupont Crowninshield (1877-1958) Papers consists of three subseries. Subseries A. Financial Records include cancelled checks, receipts, and account books for Francis and Louise covering the period between 1899 and 1903.

Subseries B. Correspondence includes letters written to and from Francis and Louise Crowninshield. Included in Francis's correspondence are a number of letters written to Ogden Codman, a relative of the family.

Subseries C. Personal Papers include: newspaper clippings, in which are found notices of the death of Theodore Chase photographs a postcard of Cleopatra's Barge , the family yacht poetry on loose-leaf paper business cards and a number of labels for "fine old imported port."

Series VI. Theodore Chase (1832-1895) and Alice Bradlee Chase (1846-1925) Papers includes two subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence includes many condolence letters from the time of Theodore Chase's death. Subseries B. Ephemera contains a wallet and passport (in French) belonging to Theodore Chase. Ephemera belonging to Alice Bradlee Chase includes a wedding invitation for Francis B. Crowninshield and Louise DuPont Crowninshield, programs, and prescriptions for eye treatments written in French. Notes to burn papers upon the events of their deaths were found among the papers of Theodore and Alice. However, the Phillips Library made the decision to keep the collection unrestricted for the following reasons: the notes with instructions to destroy the materials were not signed it was unclear as to which materials were to be destroyed and a significant part of the collection had previously been processed and made available to researchers.

Series VII. Related Family Papers includes material that does not fit with the general scope and content of the collection. Items pertaining to other Crowninshield generations (such as John Crowninshield or Charles B. Crowninshield) are included in this series. Material pertaining to John Crowninshield includes typewritten transcriptions of letters and preparations for lectures given by Howard Corning in the 1940s. A copy of the obituary for Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1773-1851) is also included in this series. Bowdoin Bradlee Crowninshield, son of Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1837-1892), is represented by four account books and a report card. Also included is an address book labeled Cleopatra's Barge , and papers relating to "French indemnity." Box 28 contains three-dimensional objects such as a clay mold for a medal commemorating the Erie Canal, a "pocket oiler," and a pocket watch. It is unclear to whom the objects pertain, but they were kept in the same grouping in which they were originally placed.

Series VIII. Photographs includes images of nearly every person included in this collection: Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1809-1877) Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1837-1892) Alice Crowninshield Bradlee Emily Crowninshield Katherine May Crowninshield Francis Boardman Crownishield Bradlee and Sarah Crowninshield Bradlee. Also included is one photograph of four New York "Cops" from Troop K, taken in May of 1898.

Series IX. Oversize Materials consists of muster rolls from the Mexican War of 1846-1848 filled out by Charles B. Crowninshield, diplomas and maps belonging to Francis Boardman (1809-1877) and Benjamin Williams (1837-1892), and a photograph of Benjamin Williams taken during the Civil War.

Dates

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Biographical Sketches

Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1809-1877) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1773-1851) and Mary Boardman Crowninshield (1778-1840). He graduated from Harvard University in 1829. He married Sarah Gool Putnam (1810-1880) in 1832, and they had seven children: Mary, Sarah, Benjamin Williams, Alice, Louisa, Francis, and Emily. He was admitted to the Middlesex Bar in 1832, and was a partner of Rufus Choate. He also served as Speaker of the House of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1848 and 1849. During the Civil War, he purchased arms in London on behalf of Union army companies from Ohio and Massachusetts. He also served as president of the Old Colony Railroad, and was president of the Boston, Lowell, and Nashua Railroad from 1855 until his death. He died May 8, 1877 in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1837-1892) was the son of Francis Boardman Crowninshield and Sarah Putnam Crowninshield. Graduating from Harvard College in 1858, he fought in the Civil War, rising to the rank of Captain in the First Massachusetts Cavalry. He eventually rose to the rank of Brevet Colonel. After marrying Katherine May Bradlee in 1866, Crowninshield entered the dry-goods business, becoming a member of the firm Sprague and Colburn in New York City, then later Wheelwright, Anderson and Co of Boston. He retired in 1876. He died in Rome, Italy, and was buried there in 1892.

Katherine May Crowninshield (1844-1902) was born to James Bowdoin Bradlee and Mary Perrin May. She married Benjamin Williams Crowninshield on December 15, 1866, and they had five children together: Bowdoin Bradlee, Francis Boardman, Benjamin Williams, Katherine May, and Emily.

Alice Crowninshield Bradlee (b. 1839) was the daughter of Francis Boardman Crowninshield and Sarah Putnam Crowninshield. She married Josiah Bradlee (1837-1902) in 1864, and they had four children: Sarah Crowninshield, Frederic Josiah, James Bowdoin, and Francis Crowninshield.

Louisa Crowninshield Bacon (1842-1927) was the daughter of Francis Boardman Crowninshield and Sarah Putnam Crowninshield. She married Francis Edward Bacon (b. 1835) in King's Chapel, Boston, on October 8, 1860. Their children were Mary Louisa, Alice Crowninshield, Francis Edward, Susan Gorham, Alice Putnam, and Louis.

Alice Bradlee Chase (1846-1925) was the sister of Katherine May (Bradlee) Crowninshield (1844-1902). She married Theodore Chase in 1868.

Theodore Chase (1832-1895) was the great-grandson of Colonel Timothy Bigelow, a Worcester, Massachusetts, blacksmith, who, in 1775, had been instrumental in removing the Massachusetts Spy and its editor, Isaiah Thomas, from Boston and went on to distinguish himself in the Revolution. Chase was in Paris during the Paris Commune of 1871, and his brother-in-law, Louis Gaillard, was with the nationalist forces attempting to reclaim the city from the communards.

Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1869-1950) was born in New York to Benjamin Williams Crowninshield (1837-1892) and Katherine May Crowninshield (1844-1902). He attended the St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and Harvard University. He joined Troop K of the Rough Riders in 1898 and saw the Cuban campaign of the Spanish-American War. Francis and his wife owned houses in Boston, Boca Grande, and outside of Wilmington, Delaware.

Louise Evelina DuPont Crowninshield (1877-1958) was the daughter of Col. Henry Algernon du Pont and Mary Pauline Foster, and grew up at the family home of Winterthur in Delaware. She married Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1869-1950) in 1900. She was a founding member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and in 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed her to the Boston National Historic Sites Commission.

Bowdoin Bradlee Crowninshield (b. 1867) was a well-known naval architect, who designed the Thomas W. Lawson , a seven-masted, steel-hulled schooner. He attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and graduated from Harvard University in 1889. He married Priscilla Janet MacPhail in 1901.

Charles B. Crowninshield (b. 1824) was born to Captain John and Maria Crowninshield. He was a cousin to Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1809-1877). He graduated from Norwich University in 1842 and entered the First Massachusetts Infantry in 1841. He was promoted to captain and saw action in the Mexican War. He was mustered out of service in 1848. He died, unmarried, in Boston, Massachusetts.


He was born in Boston March 12, 1837. His father was Francis Boardman Crowninshield (1809–1877) and mother was Sarah Putnam (1810–1880). [2] He attended Harvard College, graduating in 1858, along with classmates Henry Hobson Richardson and Henry Adams. [3] [4] Adams' Education of Henry Adams (1918) includes descriptions of his friendship with Crowninshield. [4]

At Harvard, Crowninshield kept a daily diary through his junior and senior years, which was published in 1941 by his son Francis, under the title A Private Journal, 1856–1858. It records that he was captain of the rowing team handled most of his classes with ease, with the exception of Logic which he called "that cursed nonsense" was president, Learoyd Director, and Abercrombie Treasurer of the Glee Club was a member of the Porcellian Club and Pierian Sodality was treasurer of the Hasty Pudding sang in the choir and played the 'cello. He resided, in 1856, at Number 9 Hollis Hall. His diary records many activities, from visiting old friends through attending drawing courses and music lessons going to dances, theatres, and concerts playing billiards at Ripley's and spending the evening in Parker's Restaurant to spending a whole day making a model boat. [5]

Other people that he befriended at Harvard, according to his diary, include Robert Gould Shaw, whom Crowninshield first met when Shaw was a freshman who was hoping to become a member of the Pierian Sodality. Crowninshield was also friends at Harvard with William Henry Fitzhugh Lee. His diary entry for 1856-11-19, for example, records him playing whist "till the sociable (Lee's) was ready at L. Erving's room". (The "sociable" was a party.) Its entry for 1857-06-24 records him going "into town to a supper at Parker's given in honor of Lee, Jones, Lowndes all of whom are going to leave the class". [5]

With the onset of the Civil War, Crowninshield enlisted as a lieutenant with the First Massachusetts Cavalry on 1861-11-05. He rose through the ranks, being promoted to first lieutenant on 1861-12-19, captain on 1862-03-26, and major on 1864-08-10. He was aide de camp to General Philip Sheridan, remaining with the General until mustered out on 1864-11-06. On 1865-06-17 he reached the highest rank that he was to attain, brevet colonel of the U.S. Volunteers. [5]

One coincidence that befell him during the War was that when W.H.F. Lee (by then major general in the Confederate army) was captured, as a prisoner he automatically fell under the direct control of the provost marshal. At the time, that was Crowninshield. Crowninshield 's son, Francis B. Crowninshield, was later to record that it was "a truly embarrassing position for both of them", with Lee rejecting "any of the privileges [that] Crowninshield tried to bestow upon him". [5]

Crowninshield pursued the study of history, publishing and speaking on various topics, such as yachting [6] and military history. He wrote his History of the First Massachusetts Cavalry (see further reading) in 1891. [5] His personal account of Sheridan at Winchester (also listed in further reading) was published in Atlantic Monthly.

In 1868, Crowninshield commissioned his friend H.H. Richardson to design and build a house on Marlborough Street in the newly land-filled Back Bay area of Boston. The Crowninshield House, completed in 1870, still exists. [7]

After the War, Crowninshield married and moved to New York, [5] where he was a member of New York drygoods merchants Sprague, Colburn, and Company. [3] In 1868 he moved to Boston to join a different drygood merchants, Wheelwright, Anderson, and Company. [3] [5] He was later president of the Realty Company. [3]

His health began to fail in 1891, and he died January 16, 1892, at age 55, in Rome, having travelled to Europe for a rest. [5] His oldest son was boat designer Bowdoin B. Crowninshield (1867–1948). [2]


Index — Index Magazine - Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum | Bush-Reisinger Museum | Arthur M. Sackler Museum

Lewando’s French Dye House postcard, 1885. Courtesy Harvard University Archives.

It all started with six Chinese silk handkerchiefs.

According to the Harvard Crimson, on June 19, 1858, Harvard crew members Charles Eliot (Class of 1853) and Benjamin Crowninshield (Class of 1858) bought six red handkerchiefs just before a regatta to distinguish their team from its competitors. As team members wiped the sweat from their brows during the race, the handkerchiefs turned from red to a deep crimson. News of the colored scarves spread, and the signature Harvard color was born.

Or was it? In the 1860s, magenta became all the fashion throughout the United States, and as the trend hit Harvard&rsquos campus, the color was soon vying with the original crimson. In 1864 a Harvard crew member bought magenta scarves for his teammates. Even the first issue of the publication we know as the Harvard Crimson was called the Magenta (Harvard Crimson 2004).

The legend goes that the tipping point between the two colors came at an 1875 regatta race with Union College of Schenectady, when both teams claimed magenta as their color. This crisis prompted a meeting in Holden Chapel on May 6, 1875, with Harvard faculty, students, and alumni in attendance. At the meeting an alumnus admitted that the only reason he bought those magenta scarves in 1864 was because the shop was out of crimson ones. A vote was taken and crimson won by a large majority (Harvard Crimson 2004). The student newspaper renamed itself the Crimson, stating that &ldquoThe magenta is not now, and, as was shown in the meeting, never has been, the right color of Harvard&rdquo (The Crimson 1875).

Union College Magazine, however, has a slightly different story. According to them, there was no dispute at the 1875 race at all. Apparently, a Union College student had written to Harvard before the regatta claiming that magenta belonged to them and that he wanted to avoid confusion at the upcoming race. News of the letter made its way around Harvard, the alumnus made his confession, and the university returned to crimson (Union College Magazine 2004).

In 1909, Charles Eliot, who had first bought the crimson handkerchiefs for his team, had just stepped down as president of the college. The new president, A. Lawrence Lowell, knowing that the college was running out of crimson materials, tried looking for a local dye source that could get the exact right &ldquoarterial red,&rdquo in Lowell&rsquos words. He eventually worked with Lewando&rsquos French Dye House, in Watertown, MA, which protected the secret formula for decades (Harvard University Archives 1910).

In 1910 it became official: the Harvard Corporation designated crimson as the official color of the school in honor of Eliot. The corporation&rsquos memorandum notes that a Miss Devens kindly donated one of the original handkerchiefs to the Board of Harvard (Harvard University Archives 1910). A story in the Harvard Graduates&rsquo Magazine notes that, &ldquoIt was voted that the handkerchief exhibited to the Board be adopted as the standard color of the University, and that it be preserved in the archives of the University&rdquo (1910). The now-famous handkerchief continues to rest in the Harvard University Archives, preserving its color for generations to come.

R. Leopoldina Torres is a former Communications Intern (summer 2013) and is pursuing an MLA degree in the Museum Studies Graduate Program at the Harvard Extension School.

&ldquoCorporation Records,&rdquo Harvard Graduates&rsquo Magazine (September 1910): 84. The Crimson, May 21, 1875, iii. &ldquoGoing Garnet,&rdquo Union College Magazine (Winter 2004). &ldquoMemorandum In Regard to the Official Color of Harvard University,&rdquo 1910, Harvard University Archives, UAI 20.910.1. Warmflash, Gillian L. &ldquoHarvard Explained,&rdquo Harvard Crimson, April 11, 2002.

  • of The crimson handkerchief of 1858 with official record of the President and Fellows of Harvard College, May 23, 1910. Courtesy Harvard University Archives.
  • of Harvard 1858 row team (Alexander Agassiz, James Harris Ellison, Joseph Howe Wales, Charles William Eliot, Casper Crowninshield, and Capt. Benjamin W. Crowninshield). Photograph, 1858. Courtesy Harvard University Archives.

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Crowninshield, Benjamin W - History

March 5, 1817. 1 naval appointment.

Finding aid in repository.

The collection of Benjamin Crowninshield contains letters discussing appointments in the U.S. Navy.

In the John Mason Papers, 1790-1840, 12 items.

Other authors include Benjamin W. Crowninshield.

Letters of Benjamin Williams Crowninshield, 1823-1830.

In the John A. Cook Papers, 1812-1831, 8 items.

Correspondents include Benjamin W. Crowninshield. A finding aid is available in the library.

In the Court-martial proceedings of Herman Thorn, 1813-1843, 1 volume.

Persons represented include Benjamin Williams Crowninshield.

In the Horace Bucklin Sawyer Papers, 1812-1950, 1 linear foot.

Correspondents include Benjamin W. Crowninshield. A finding aid is available in the library.

In the Stevens Family Papers, 1810-1952, 35 items.

Correspondents include Benjamin W. Crowninshield.

In Correspondence from John J. Frobel and Thomas Blanchard, 1804, 3 leaves.

Correspondents include Benjamin Crowninshield.

In the Correspondence with B. Lynde Oliver and William Pynchon Oliver, 1804, 5 leaves.

Correspondents include Benjamin Crowninshield.

In the Isaac Chauncey Letterbooks, 1805-1821, 6 volumes.

Correspondents include Benjamin W. Crowninshield.

In the Crowninshield Family Papers, 1697-1909, 10 linear feet.

Persons represented include Benjamin W. Crowninshield. An finding aid is available in the repository.

In the Crowninshield Family Papers, 1756-1864, 4.25 linear feet.

Persons represented include Benjamin W. Crowninshield. An finding aid is available in the repository.

In the Ebenezer Hunt Correspondence, 1815-1864, 1 box.

Other authors include Benjamin W. Crowninshield.

Manuscript letter signed from Benjamin W. Crowninshield to Captain David Porter written on April 20, 1815. In the letter, Benjamin Crowninshield transmits his commission as Commissioner of the Navy as of February 28, 1815.

Extended Bibliography

  • Massachusetts. General Court. House of Representatives. Mr. Crowinshield's resolutions [on foreign interference with American commerce]. [Boston: N.p., 1808?]

Benjamin Williams Crowninshield [ edit | edit source ]

Crowninshield as the United States Srecretary of Navy.

Hon. Benjamin Williams Crowninshield was born in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts on December 27, 1772 to Capt. George Crowninshield (1734 - 1815) and Mary Derby (1737 - 1813) and died Feburary 3, 1772 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He was first a merchant and became a Member of the United States House of Representative of Massachusetts 2nd district from March 4, 1823 to March 3, 1831. He was then became the fifth United States Secretary of Navy on January 16, 1815 and left of September 30, 1818.


Crowninshield Family Papers, 1697-1924

The Crowninshield Family Papers are comprised of business, political, and personal papers of the George Crowninshield family from 1697-1909. The bulk of the papers are those of John Crowninshield which concern family shipping affairs from 1795-1815. The collection is divided into seven series.

Other than the material included in the ships' papers, all correspondence between George, Sr., his sons, and their wives is filed with the recipient. This family correspondence contains information on the health of family members, the financial status of Richard Crowninshield, current mercantile affairs in the family shipping business, and political and social events in Salem. Additionally, the activities of family members other than the correspondents are often mentioned in these letters. All non-family correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters. This is largely correspondence from merchant houses, business associates, political figures, and friends of the family. Depending upon the addressee, they can relate to shipping affairs (John and Richard Crowninshield), political appointments (Jacob and Benjamin Crowninshield) or the health of family members. For additional details on the contents of correspondence in this collection, see the descriptions within each series below.

Series I. Crowninshield Family Ships' Papers consists of correspondence, accounts, receipts, drawings, insurance papers, legal papers, and crew lists associated with ships owned, mastered, captured, or chartered by George Crowninshield or his sons (See Appendix I). The majority of the ships' papers concern mercantile voyages from 1800-1820 to Europe and Asia. Because many of these vessels were commanded by family members, additional details of Crowninshield voyages may be extracted from the family correspondence received by the individual family members. Of particular interest are the papers of ship America , which document an 1801 pepper voyage from Sumatra and the subsequent export of the pepper from Salem to Bordeaux. The papers of Cleopatra's Barge include a reproduction of the original crew list and letterbooks with copies of letters of introduction from various American officials on behalf of George Crowninshield, Jr. The "Historic Material" folder contains printed announcements of the sale of the vessel (1817), correspondence relating to the vessel, notes, newspaper clippings, and labels from a 1916 Peabody Museum of Salem exhibit mounted on the centennial of the ship's construction. The papers of brig Diomede contain extensive accounts from the construction of the vessel in 1809-1810. Additional information on the Crowninshield's privateering efforts is located in Series' II and IV. For more information on the voyage of the brig Dido to Archangel, consult the brig Telemachus papers. For spoliation claims of ship Margaret see also ship Golden Age. Correspondence concerning the financial difficulties of Richard Crowninshield is located among the papers of brig Sylph , as the vessel was sold to John on the eve of Richard's bankruptcy.

Series II. George Crowninshield (1734-1815) Papers extend from 1765-1822 and include the papers of his son George, Jr. (1766-1817) and the family shipping firm, George Crowninshield and Sons. George Crowninshield, Sr.'s papers contain family correspondence received from his sons that generally concerns the voyages of Crowninshield's vessels and mercantile finances. His papers include his own valuations of his estate in 1809 and 1814. The papers of his son George, Jr. also contain family correspondence concerning shipping activities. The papers of the family shipping firm George Crowninshield and Sons have official correspondence from family members on shipping and business affairs. Many of these are letters between Richard and merchant agents in America and abroad. The privateer memorandum books consist of instructions, agreements, crew lists associated with the private armed vessels America , John , and Jefferson , lists of prizes, and their cargoes and crews. The firm's account book is mostly concerned with shipping but also documents the division of the firm's assets and liabilities amongst the component family members.

Series III. Jacob Crowninshield (1770-1808) Papers cover the years 1785-1835. Subseries A. Correspondence consists of letters from his father and brothers on business affairs and letters from his wife, Sally, on personal and local news after 1804. Of particular interest are Sally's letters of February 1805 which influenced Jacob's decision to refuse President Jefferson's appointment as Secretary of the Navy. A large portion of the non-family correspondence is made up of transcripts of Jacob's letters copied by William C. Endicott in 1889 from the Jefferson papers then held at the United States Department of State. This material is largely concerned with foreign and domestic political affairs. The William Bentley correspondence is almost entirely comprised of transcripts of letters to Bentley. These letters provide personal perspectives on national political issues including the Louisiana Purchase. Bentley's replies are scarce and express his opinions of local and national issues. The Nathanial Silsbee correspondence is made up of transcripts of correspondence from Jacob to Silsbee. This is largely personal and business correspondence that provides information on other family members and their shipping activities.

Subseries B. Personal Papers includes a copy of Jacob's commission as Secretary of the Navy, estate, guardianship, and various legal papers. Subseries C. Family Papers include material related to the William Crowninshield estate and a Jacob Crowninshield Rogers biography

Series IV. John Crowninshield (1771-1842) Papers extend from 1789-1897 and are divided into four subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence , is almost entirely devoted to shipping and business affairs between John, his father, and his brothers. A series of original bound letters (letterbooks) include both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Some of these letterbooks were assembled by John's son John Casper Crowninshield (1820-1878) and were used as sources for his family history.

Subseries B. Shipping and Business Papers are generally comprised of administrative materials related to Crowninshield shipping activities and papers that document John's efforts at diversification through real estate investments in Maine and other businesses in New Orleans. The account book/letterbook contains further correspondence regarding the voyages of ship Belisarius to India and ship America to Mauritius and Sumatra. The accounts are primarily related to the crew of the Belisarius but also concern the cargo carried on that voyage.

Subseries C. Personal Papers includes Crowninshield's manuscripts "Salem to Pittsburg, "and "Vindication of the Seaman's Character," two navigation lesson books, accounts and receipts, and printed material.

Subseries D. Family Papers are comprised of materials relative to John's wife and children. Maria Crowninshield's correspondence is comprised of personal letters she received from John and her sisters. Maria Louisa Crowninshield's journal describes her summer vacation spent at Danvers and a number of day trips to other localities including Andover and Gloucester. There are embroidery letters sketched by Louisa Crowninshield Bacon (born 1842), and a photograph album. John Casper Crowninshield's papers are almost entirely made up of historical research on the family based upon his father's papers. "The Buried Treasure Found" is a novel depicting the discovery of treasure on an unknown island in the Pacific Ocean in 1784. Charles B. Crowninshield's papers include an essay on military fortifications and a scrapbook of orders, correspondence, and accounts from Company E, 1st Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers during the Mexican-American War.

Series V. Benjamin Crowninshield (1772-1851) Papers cover from 1791-1881 and are divided into three subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence includes family correspondence from brothers-in-law Nathaniel Silsbee and John Rice. Letters dated before 1820 are primarily concerned with family shipping activities. As the family shipping activities decreased after 1820 the family correspondence became more personal in nature. Mary's letters to Benjamin in the spring of 1830 document the hysteria in Salem after the murder of Captain Joseph White and the progress of the trial of Richard and George Crowninshield. Non-family correspondence includes a number of letters from nationally prominent statesmen (see Appendix II). The material represents an important source on the history of the American Navy in the years following the War of 1812. A large corpus of correspondence with Benjamin Homans, an administrator in the Navy Department, provides detail on the management of ships, personnel, and material. Correspondence from Susan Decatur concerns her efforts to receive a pension from the Navy for the work of her husband Stephen Decatur.

Subseries B. Personal Papers includes estate papers, accounts, receipts, legal papers, certificates, and printed matter related to Crowninshield's private life.

Subseries C. Family Papers contain a series of letters received by Mary B. Crowninshield from Benjamin in Washington, D.C. initially describing Jacob's health before his death and discussing political and social affairs. Later correspondence is almost entirely devoted to social activities in Washington and personal matters. There are also a number of personal letters from Mary's brothers and sisters in this folder. Material after 1830 is dominated by letters from her children. Miscellaneous family correspondence is largely made up of correspondence with Mary Boardman (Mary B. Crowninshield's mother) and letters received by Benjamin's children.

Series VI. Richard Crowninshield (1774-1884) Papers extend from 1789-1832 and are mostly comprised of materials relating to his shipping activities and financial difficulties. The family correspondence is made up of letters from his brothers regarding the family shipping business. Non-family correspondence is also generally associated with shipping activities and accounts with various merchant houses. The 1815 broadside is entitled "Death of Crowninshield, the Salem Murderer" and contains a poem about the accused murderer's suicide.

Series VII. Miscellaneous Papers run from 1697-1909 and are divided into two subseries. Subseries A. Family Papers include the Crowninshield (alias India) Wharf papers, which document the sale of the property and an agreement between Joseph G. Waters and Stephen C. Phillips to repair the wharf by popular subscription. Francis B. Crowninshield (1809-1877) assisted in securing the title to the property. The Derby/Crowninshield ancestral tablets were probably compiled by William C. Endicott. The 1697 deed concerns a land purchase of Elizabeth Allen (either von Kronensheldt's wife or mother in-law). Miscellaneous family papers are materials associated with the family but not directly related to George Crowninshield or his sons. The unidentified items are believed to be from family members, but cannot positively be associated with an individual.

Subseries B. Non-Family Papers include correspondence between John Hathorne, Jr. and Isaac Mitchell of Poughkeepsie, New York regarding the vacant editorial post at the Salem Register.


Historic sites

The Crowninshield influence is particularly visible in Essex County, Massachusetts, and especially in their historical homebase of Salem.

The homestead of Captain John Crowninshield, son of Johannes Caspar Richter von Kronenschieldt and Elizabeth Allen, survives as the Crowninshield-Bentley House, which is governed by the Peabody Essex Museum and is part of Salem's historical tourism industry. Benjamin Williams Crowninshield's federal-style waterfront mansion, once used by President James Monroe on a trip to Salem, is now used as home for the Brookehouse for Women. Some other sites, such as the Crowninshield Wharf have been lost to time and damage.

Other places and things named after the family include Crowninshield Island, located off nearby Marblehead, and the USS Crowninshield, a Wickes-class destroyer during World War I. There are also Crowninshield streets in Providence, Rhode Island Brookline, Massachusetts Peabody, Massachusetts and New York City, New York, each locations where noted Crowninshields lived.

Family members are buried in several of New England's most prominent cemeteries, including Mount Auburn Cemetery and the ancient burial ground in Salem.


Watch the video: Walter Benjamin and Aura: The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility Part 1 (June 2022).


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